See it at the Movies

Born in China



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(Disney nature film)

We miss the monthly nature films that used to grace the huge screen at the IMAX theatre. We now have to wait until Earth Day every year to see what Disney Nature has in store for us.

This year it is the gorgeously photographed "Born in China,” which zeroes in on pandas, golden monkeys and snow leopards but includes many other birds and animals in remote areas of China. We see the animals as they go about their business during the four seasons, as the camera and narrator John Krasinski do a show and tell that centers around the circle of life.

The hour-and-a-quarter film focuses on life and death, including birth scenes and the killing of other species for food. In the animal world, Krasinski explains, "You have to take life to give life." This is all handled very gently and suitable for most children.

Disney likes the anthropomorphic angle, assigning cute names to the animals and carefully editing the multitude of camera footage into little stories. Sometimes it gets a little cutesy for adults, but not enough to deter from the actions and antics of the animals, especially those adorable monkeys. Director Lu Chuan even throws in a bit of Chinese philosophy on the circle of life for us to ponder.

The photography takes us to three remote areas in China, offering us views of landscapes and flora and fauna we will never have a chance to see. Motherly love, stalking for food, surviving the elements, play time, the importance of family, survival of the fittest, and animals just having fun all come together in this wonderful nature movie.

Do not rush for the exit when the movie ends, because some of the best moments of the movie come as the credits roll on the screen. We get a behind the scenes look at the photographers and how they got their shots. And wait until you see the monkeys reacting to the cameras.

Rated G.


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